Saturday, 31 December 2011

Kauravas make a trip to the forest to count their cattle wealth! Mahabharata 80

The scene shifts to Hastinapura. A wayfaring brahmin brings news of the Pandavas; 'Constantly exposed to rain, winds and the sun, they appear weak and tired'. Dritharashtra's initial reaction was one of  guilt and then it was all worry. News that Arjuna has received powerful astras from Indralokha is not good news for the kauravas.

Karna's reacts differently to the news. He tells Duryodhana; 'Maharaja! Why don't you go to the forest and dazzle them with your pomp and glory. Let those losers who ridiculed you see the difference now! There is no better feeling on this earth than to see your enemies in an impoverished state. Let your wife show herself to Draupadi with all her finery.  Draupadi will surely bemoan her fate and suffer, her misery will be keener than what she felt in midst of the sabha.'

 Duryodhana is delighted with the idea, then becomes despondent! He is certain that his father will not agree to an expedition nearby the Pandavas. He asks Karna to think of a convincing reason why they should go. Karna comes up with an idea that they visit the neighbouring village of cowherds and take a check; count  the number of  cows with them.  While they are with Dhritarashtra, Sakuni stage manages a visit by a cowherd, who announces that a new batch of cattle has been recieved in the village. Sakuni proposes that they go and check on the cattle and seeks Dritharashtra's permission. Also adds that it is also a good time for hunting.

While Dritharashtra agrees that it is good to keep track and not leave it entirely to the cowherds, he is not to keen about their proposed trip. He tells them ' I am not in favour of your trip as I hear that Pandavas live in the proximity. While Dharmaraja may be peaceful, Bheema is hot tempered. Arjuna is now very strong with all the new astras he has acquired and Draupadi is verily the Agni! I am afraid you will provoke them and there will be a fight.  You will be destroyed by the powers they have acquired. In case you attack them with your superior manpower,  it is wrong and also it is not possible to defeat them! Even if you keep quiet because of me, it is not going to be fun or your men may create a problem with their behaviour!' and suggests that they send some trusted servants instead.

Sakuni replies 'Maharaja! Dharmaraja has taken a vow in front of a full assembly that he will go on Vanavasa for twelve years. He is bound to  keep his promise and he is not the one to get provoked easily, also his brothers obey him. We just want go hunting and at the same time take an account of our cattle. We have no desire to meet the Pandavas and we intend to keep away from them. So where is the likelihood for any confrontation between us?'

Dhritharashtra is unable to contradict Sakuni and agrees. Duryodhana collects a huge army and along with his brother Dussasana, Sakuni, the women of the palace and others, proceeds towards the forest. Many )more, merchants with their vehicles, prostitutes, tradesmen and hunters follow them, making  a noisy exit from the city. 

Those were the times when cattle was wealth! 'Cattle were held in high esteem and frequently appear in Rigvedic hymns; goddesses were often compared to cows, and gods to bulls. Agriculture grew more prominent with time as the community gradually began to settle down in post-Rigvedic times[citation needed]. The economy was based on bartering with cattle and other valuables such as salt or metals[citation )     (wikiepeida)


Mohan said...

& now we call traveling economy as "Cattle class".......

srinidhi said...

Very good point!